India and Qatar on Saturday agreed to share intelligence to combat 'hawala' transactions and terror financing as the two countries signed seven agreements and decided to move beyond the trading relationship and get into strategic investments.
Cooperation and investment in areas of skill development and education, health, tourism and sports between the two countries were the other agreements signed by Indian and Qatar officials in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.
Official talks were held between Modi and Seikh Tamim for multi-sectoral partnership and strengthening of Indo-Qatar ties following which the agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed on the second day of the Prime Minister's visit here.
An MoU was signed between Qatar Investment Authority and External Affairs Ministry for investment in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund between the two countries that would facilitate foreign investment from the gas-rich Gulf state.
An MoU signed between Finance Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND) and the Qatar Financial Information Unit (QFIU) would help in tracking money flow and investment from Qatar to India. It would also help authorities to safeguard against money laundering, terrorism financing and other economic offences.
An agreement was also signed between the two countries on cooperation and mutual assistance in custom matters besides an MoU on cooperation in tourism. Modi was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the Emiri Diwan that was followed with official bilateral talks between the two leaders.
Modi and Sheikh Tamim held detailed talks here on a wide range of issues with an intent to give a push to India-Qatar ties. Qatar is an important trading partner for India in the Gulf region with bilateral trade in 2014-15 standing at $15.67 billion. It is also one of India's key sources of crude oil.
While landing here yesterday, Modi had said India attaches great priority to strong ties with Qatar and that his visit seeks to expand the bilateral ties further. The Prime Minister has been focusing on improving ties with the Gulf region which is crucial for India's energy security. He has already visited United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.